Web links related to the Back of the Book program of November 7, 2005

I did this one solo as Pickles of the North had to go to work very early the next day.

The next WBAI Local Station Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005, at 6:30 PM, at the Brooklyn Neighborhood Office of the Legal Aid Society, 111 Livingston St., 7th floor, Brooklyn, NY. Take the 2, 3, 4, 5, to Borough Hall, or A, C, E, F to Jay St./Borough Hall or the R to Court St. in Brooklyn. The location is wheelchair-accessible and public comment is welcome.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of the older WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do. And I'll be updating it soon.

The November 1st, LSB meeting was held in Manhattan and we got a quorum after a while. The faction currently in charge declared that it is not accepting the apology from the member whom they're not allowing to vote because they claim that he's “suspended.” So his six month suspension is now in its ninth month. Another way for the faction currently in charge to deal unfairly with someone whom they dislike. The faction also tried to pass an approval of an amendment to the bylaws which the PNB passed in October. But they screwed that attempt up on several counts.

I have written a statement about the constructive removal of a LSB member and sent it to the PNB, the WBAI LSB and various public mailing lists and bulletin boards.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, has revamped its Web site and now has something called the Pacifica Lounge where you can post messages about Pacifica, WBAI and other Pacifica radio stations. This may be a good thing, and of course there are other, long term fora in which to participate.

WBAI also has a forum on its Web site now. You have to register to post messages, but anyone may read the messages.

WBAI is now archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to the program any time for the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Back of the Book is not one of the programs that you can download, you can only listen to it on line. But maybe someone will change that at some point.

We talked about the international concerns over the so called “bird flu” on this program. Officially the virus is called H5N1 and although it's devastating all sorts of bird populations in Asia it has yet to achieve the scary capacity to jump from one human being to another.

This capacity to spread by human to human contact is what made the influenza pandemic of 1918, such a devastating killer. We talked about scientists having actually reconstructed the 1918, virus from fragments culled from preserved lung tissues of three people who died of the disease. It turns out that the 1918, flu virus is not very different from the H5N1 virus that's killing many birds and about 60 humans so far. The humans who have contracted influenza from H5N1 all had intimate contact with infected birds. So the virus was able to jump to them but so far it has not mutated to a form by which one person could infect another. However, H5N1 could mutate into a form that's infectious among humans if only a small number of the amino acid pairs in its genome were to change.

The reconstructed 1918, virus was tested in mice and it infected their lungs, much the way it did to humans in 1918, when about 50 million people died of it.

Some scientists have even voiced concern that the reconstructed 1918, flu virus could end up being accidently released into the population, or maybe even deliberately released.

We also read some articles relating to the current capacity of the U.S.A. to respond to a sudden pandemic based on H5N1. The bottom line is that this nation state is not well prepared at all. Let's all hope that H5N1 doesn't mutate; hoping is about the best we can do right now.

I suggested on this program that everyone rush outside and look up. The quite bright, orange object in the sky is the planet Mars which was making its best appearance since the historical close approach in 2003, and which will not look this good again until 2018.

We also read some articles about black holes. Scientists are getting very close to being able to image the “shadow” of a black hole. I went on about the parts of a black hole and how only one part can be seen directly.

I talked about an article from the wire services about how the grave of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus may have been found secreted beneath the altar of Frombork Cathedral. Copernicus was the guy who floated the idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe. He only allowed his book with this idea to be published when he was on his deathbed. He knew that the Roman Catholic Church would not take kindly to this theory, and that entire Galileo Galilei thing showed how right he was.

This furor over the Copernican Theory isn't terribly different from the current fundamentalist assault on the teaching of the Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection that's going on in America right now.

Speaking of superstitionist ignorance, the Kansas Board of Education is probably going to adopt “standards” that will imply that the Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection is somehow not valid, but of course superstitious nonsense will be respected in the classroom. Well, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association have denied Kansas permission to use their copyrighted materials as part of these new, anti-scientific standards.

In related news the judge in the court case against the Dover Area School Board of Dover, Pennsylvania over its insistence on allowing the bullshit fraud of “intelligent design” to be taught as an equal to evolution theory has come to a close. The judge says he'll render a decision by early January.

And of course there are still those, including that moron George W. Bush, who insist that global warming is not happening. Well, the World Conservation Union has announced that right now 20% of the Earth's coral reefs have been destroyed. In a report called “Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching” they also say that another 30% of the world's coral reefs “will become seriously depleted” within the next 20 to 40 years unless something is done to stop the destruction, which is mostly due to the warming of the oceans.

I also discussed the news that the Methodist Church's Judicial Council, their highest church court, has upheld the expulsion from the ministry of openly lesbian pastor Irene Elizabeth Stroud. Oh, we knew they were going to do that.

In another decision of this same body they reinstated a jerk named Edward Johnson who kept an openly gay man from joining his congregation. Ah, the metamorphosis of Christians into, well, something else is quite something to watch.

And we got to some mail on this program. Here's an E-mail from someone who referenced my comments about seeing the site of my old high school after more than forty years.

Subject: General Comments
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 01:51:55 -0400
From: Jiji
To: rpm@glib.com

Listen to you and Pickles of the North. A friend of mine has a copy of a book “Pickles of the North” cold this have any meaning? You attended Saint Frances Near Broadway and Myrtle Avenues? If so the Place is in slight disrepair and the back of the school has buildings on the site. The beautiful Stain Glass windows are covered with plywood in various places. I live 15 block from there. A few of you teachers? use to visit Troutman Street for various actives . i use to have a few beers there myself with a few buddies of mine who met with them.

The El train still runs as usual slow but a little cleaner now days. Enjoy your program ; slightly reminds me of Gene Sheppard who was a religion with me and my children. Never forget the time Shep said lets meet near Cooper Union and howl at the moon. What a night I was 25 at the time. Now 79 years and still howling , a widower after 51 years of wedded bliss.
Stay well and I will still keep listening.

Actually, it was St. Francis Prep. On the air I thought that the intersection Jiji gave was not really near where the school was, but looking at a map since then I see that is is sort of nearby. We were discouraged from being in the neighborhood by the teachers and the Principal. They wanted us to show up for school and then go right home. Even the candy store on the corner of Driggs Ave. and North 7th St. was forbidden to us to enter. So I never really learned the neighborhood much. All I knew was walking to McCarran Park for track practice.

I remember the el, but not from high school. I recall that we used to take it to visit my grandfather's ashes in some cemetery that may have been among those on the Brooklyn/Queens border.

I am quite flattered by the reference to Jean Shepherd. I don't think I do anything that really approaches that. However our old Saddle Pal Maxwell J. Schmid frequently plays old Shep tapes on his program Mass Backwards which goes from 4 to 6 AM on Tuesday mornings.

And next we have something from a listener who sends us somewhat cryptic text messages over his or her cell phone.

Subject: Dick
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 21:26:06 -0700
From: _____________________
To: rpm@glib.com

(Dick sparky Cheney) I heard Cheney is trying to get BiG GUV to pick up the tab for his $186,000 electric bill? Pot lites?cla

I wouldn't doubt that Cheney would do that. He's about helping his crook buddies feather their nests, and of course I'm sure he expects reciprocation.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

Probably the most popular list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand.

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

And then there is the historic “Free Pacifica!” list, which has been used to help organize resistance to Pacifica Management hijackers since the mid-90s. It's become a low volume mailing list because it's been eclipsed by some of the newer, more technologically advanced, lists. Just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. This is a mailing list only, it doesn't have a digest option nor does it have a web interface.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Free Pacifica Web site

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2005, R. Paul Martin.